To hear it from Variety‘s Owen Gleiberman, Barbie director Greta Gerwig managed to transform the material “into an exuberant jokey carnival of fourth-wall-breaking doll’s-house-as-rabbit-hole feminist surrealisma candy-colored Dreamhouse burlesque that adores Barbie and resents her at the same time.”

He also notes that Barbietweaks the patriarchy even as it treats Ken as the film’s most complicated character, and that has the wit to recognize that Barbie isn’t just a plaything [but] a metaphysical projection of feminine ideals who also has the effect of undermining who women are.”

Having seen Barbie last Thursday and having immediately tapped out my reactions (“Undisciplined Barbie Gush“), I was naturally expecting to see something more plain-spoken than “tweaks the patriarchy.” I was actually hoping to see words that actually apply. Words like “misandrist” or “misandry”, I mean.

Gleiberman does have a tendency to lay it on the line, after all. He’ll use diplomatic phrasing, of course, but if an apple tree is full of ripe green (as opposed to red) apples, he’ll say that for the most part.

Well, not this time as neither term was used. “There must be some mistake,” I told myself. Then I realized there was no percentage in being overly candid about Barbie. It had become too big of a hit, too much of an earthquake. I get it — it’s celebration time. If I was a hotshot critic for a major publication I’d probably play my cards this way also.